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By: Stephen O'Connor

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July 10th, 2012

How Electronic Health Record Alerts Benefit Physicians & Patients

Electronic Health Records

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With the growing adaptation of electronic health records (EHRs) among hospitals, clinics and private practitioners, both patients and physicians are realizing the benefits of the integrated alerts within these computer-based systems.

EHR Alerts Improve Communication, Decrease Medication Errors

EHRs work in real time, ensuring that all practitioners have access to current, coordinated patient information. Depending on the needs of both the patient and the physician, electronic alerts can be activated within the EHR system to provide instant access to lab results, x-rays and reports from affiliated providers.

Physicians can use an EHR system to send alerts to nursing staff, specialists and colleagues rather than relying on faxes, phone messages or verbal orders. Medication errors are dramatically reduced with the use of EHRs as allergy alerts are sent to physicians who prescribe drugs that are either known allergens to the patient or present a risk of dangerous interactions with medications prescribed by other providers. This helps improve patient safety while reducing physician liability.

Clinical Trial Alerts Increase Participation Rates

According to a recent study by the University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University, electronic health records have also been shown to increase patient recruitment rates for clinical trials (http://www.fierceemr.com/story/ehr-alerts-help-recruit-patients-clinical-trials/2012-05-03).

The researchers noted that the use of EHR-based alerts resulted in an initial response rate of 50 percent, adding to the growing list of benefits that digitial patient records can offer to all stakeholders.

Patient-Directed Alerts Decrease Missed Appointments, Improve Treatment Compliance

Many EHR systems have onboard patient portals that allow patients to access some of their own healthcare information, improving patient satisfaction and treatment compliance rates.

These patient portals can include a variety of patient-directed alerts, including e-mail and SMS appointment reminders, access to healthcare scheduling, prescription renewal prompts and links to online resources.

EHR system alerts benefit both patients and physicians through improved communication, real-time test results and elimination of service duplication.

These alerts help increase patient compliance and attendance, minimize costs related to administration and even help advance medical research through clinical trial recruitment.

Key Takeaways:

  • EHRs work in real time, ensuring that all practitioners have access to current, coordinated patient information.
  • Physicians can use an EHR system to send alerts to nursing staff, specialists and colleagues rather than relying on faxes, phone messages or verbal orders.
  • Many EHR systems have onboard patient portals which allow patients to access some of their own healthcare information.

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About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.

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